If you want a very quick review then I’ll just say this: IT IS AMAZING, BOOK YOURSELF IN IMMEDIATELY.
For those who prefer a bit more detail, read on…
I’ve worn glasses since I was 14 or so, like a lot of short sighted people it started off being for reading the board at school (because sitting at the back was very necessary, obvs) but as I’ve gotten older my eyes have gotten more and more rubbish. My prescription was -3.5 and -3.25, so I wasn’t wearing milk bottle glasses, but I couldn’t see without them. I’d been wholly dependent on glasses/contacts for about five years and so laser surgery was most definitely on my radar.
The problem was, every time I saved up for it, something else would come along. There’d be a holiday that I HAD to go on (ahem) or I’d scrape the car (ahem) or there’d be a sale at Issa (ahem) or something WIWT-y to invest in (stupid bloody WIWT) etc etc. My eyes basically slipped on the priority list.
I’ve never really been that concerned about the procedure, the more I researched it the more I realised that any horror stories always came from “a friend of a friend of a brother’s girlfriend’s cousin” whereas the glowing reviews came from people I knew and trusted.
I have to thank the gorgeous Kate Tidman for really convincing me of the procedure’s amazing life changing-ness though. She was definitely right.
So yeah, having decided I definitely wanted laser eye surgery I then became the luckiest girl in London – Optical Express asked me to take part in Team 21 – a blogger project where 21 of us internet dwellers would be treated to laser eye surgery.
I am MASSIVELY grateful and I know that if you’re saving up for it then the last thing you want to hear is that I got it for free, but I’m not going to lie about it! I didn’t pay for my surgery.
But as I was about to book in for it anyway, I’m very aware how much the costs vary across providers and treatments. My exact procedure for my prescription would have cost £3190 according to the optician I saw for my one week on review yesterday, but I did have the very ‘best of the best’ procedure – Advanced CustomVue Wavefront. As all the adverts tell you, prices start at £395 per eye and there are lots of different procedures and payment plans, so it’s really quite flexible.
I started off with a consultation on Harley Street where I had a number of tests and scans to see whether I was a suitable candidate and what procedure would suit my eyes best. It was VERY thorough, way more extensive than any eye test I’ve had before. I was given a zillion opportunities to ask questions but I didn’t really have any. The only positive to come out of my jaw surgery saga is that nothing medical phases me now, I’ve had every invasive/claustrophobic/painful procedure imaginable and it’s left me a bit mental/fearless.
My only worry was that I wouldn’t be a suitable candidate as my prescription has gotten steadily worse over the years, but I was suitable (yey!) so then my only worry was the fact I wouldn’t be able to wear mascara for seven days post surgery. (Luckily the prospect of daytime sunglasses was enough to convince me it was worth it).
Nothing invasive happens at the consultation, but it’s worth noting that they put some drops in your eyes which affect your vision quite substantially for a few hours, so don’t do what I do and go straight into an important meeting. Rest.
Then you’re given time to think/ask more questions etc etc, and you make an appointment for the surgery if you want to. I wanted to, so last Monday I went back to Harley Street to have the surgery. (Sorry for making you read so far to actually get to this bit).
So yes, in line with my general “hard as nails” attitude to all things medical as alluded to earlier – I didn’t get anyone to come with me and didn’t plan for anyone to pick me up. My boyfriend was working abroad and we had no food in the flat but I was all “hey, I’m Vinnie Jones, who cares?”. I quickly noticed though that everyone else in the waiting room DID have someone with them and I began to realise that maybe I should call someone. The surgeon asked if I’d had breakfast – “errr, no” – and he looked at me like a cross Dad, I downed a tube of Pez (yes, I carry Pez in my handbag), texted my sister demanding she meet me after the surgery then went in to have it done.
You start by being re-scanned to ensure everything is as it was in your consultation, then they get to it. It’s very quick and ‘nothingy’, you just lie down and have anaestehetic drops put in your eyes and they get on with it. I’m sure they’ll do a bit of hand holding if you need it, but I was half asleep and not really asking any questions. Pain is a very personal thing, but in my honest opinion the procedure is painless. It’s odd, yes, but it’s not at all painful. There’s a pressure on your eye which is obviously an unusual sensation, but I didn’t find myself wanting to blink/move/panic. Once the first machine (the pressure one) has cut the flaps in your cornea (sounds dramatic, it isn’t) you then go under another machine for the laser to do it’s work. I was under the laser for 15 seconds in each eye – it’s loud and makes a firing sound like a gun, and it DOES smell – but it’s not painful at all. I guess the oddest part is that you can see what’s going on, it’s like watching surgery on your eye. Odd is the optimum word here.
You then get up – I felt a bit faint at this point – and then go to sit in a dark relaxation room. Here I waited for my sis to join me for a cab home. My eyes started to tear and burn in the relaxation room, but the surgeon was stunned how much I could keep them open. So yeah, maybe don’t take my word for it when it comes to being painless – I do have a warped pain threshold from many years of illness!
My sis came, we went home – via Lebanese food – and then I basically stayed on the sofa listening to Kardashian re-runs and trying not to use my eyes.
The next day I had a follow up at Optical Express at Westfield, they said my flaps were healing nicely (lulz). They were quite red, but this is just bruising. It’s gone already and I miss it, it made me look ‘interesting’, I thought.
During the recovery I did exactly what I was told – three sets of different eye drops four times a day, sleep in goggles, no exercise (wahey!), no make-up etc etc. I didn’t find I was light sensitive but I was definitely tired, I only could manage a few hours at the laptop each day. I was a bit headachey, the way you can be with new contacts, but nothing dramatic. I’ve been driving on the motorway, but I am struggling a bit at night driving due to halos – but that will settle down…I only had it done a week ago!
My eyesight? Amazing. I was tested yesterday and was told the healing couldn’t be better and I was two levels ABOVE 20/20 vision. I am essentially a robot super pilot now.
I can see WAY WAY WAY better than I could ever see in glasses or contacts. It’s truly life changing.
I can watch telly in bed, I can see when I wake up, I can see crazy far into the distance like some sort of x-ray person.
I love it.
I could not recommend it more highly. I was so well looked after by Optical Express and that wasn’t just because this was a PR thing. I swear. Every consultation I had, they didn’t know I was doing this as part of a blogger project. (I know because I would always say at the end and they’d look equally fascinated/scared I was reviewing them).
The procedure is bizarrely quick and easy to recover from, yet has genuinely life changing results.
I can’t stress it enough, get a free consultation!
Then get it done. It’s amazing 🙂